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The Effects of Race and Sex Discrimination Laws

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  • David Neumark
  • Wendy A. Stock

Abstract

The question of the effects of race and sex discrimination laws on relative economic outcomes for blacks and women has been of interest at least since the Civil Rights and Equal Pay Acts passed in the 1960s. We present new evidence on the effects of these laws based on variation induced first by state anti-discrimination statutes passed prior to the federal legislation and then by the extension of anti-discrimination prohibitions to the remaining states with the passage of federal legislation. This evidence improves upon earlier time-series studies of the effects of anti-discrimination legislation. It is complementary to more recent work that revisits this question using data and statistical experiments that provide 'treatment' and 'comparison' groups. We examine the effects of race and sex discrimination laws on employment and earnings, in each case focusing on outcomes for black females, black males, and white females relative to white males. Overall, we interpret the evidence as corroborating the general conclusion that race discrimination laws positively impacted the relative employment and earnings of blacks, although the evidence is less dramatic than that reported in other research, and there are some cases (in particular, earnings effects for black males) and periods for which we find little positive impact. We find some evidence that sex discrimination/equal pay laws boosted the relative earnings of black and white females. Finally, we find that sex discrimination/equal pay laws reduced the relative employment of both black women and white women.

Suggested Citation

  • David Neumark & Wendy A. Stock, 2001. "The Effects of Race and Sex Discrimination Laws," NBER Working Papers 8215, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8215
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Timothy Besley, 2013. "Implementation of Anti-Discrimination Policy: Does Judicial Selection Matter?," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 212-251.
    2. Platt, Jonathan & Prins, Seth & Bates, Lisa & Keyes, Katherine, 2016. "Unequal depression for equal work? How the wage gap explains gendered disparities in mood disorders," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 1-8.
    3. Martina Zweimüller & Rudolf Winter‐Ebmer & Doris Weichselbaumer, 2008. "Market Orientation and Gender Wage Gaps: an International Study," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(4), pages 615-635, November.
    4. Weichselbaumer, Doris & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 2003. "The Effects of Competition and Equal Treatment Laws on the Gender Wage Differential," CEPR Discussion Papers 4015, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Collins, William J., 2003. "The political economy of state-level fair employment laws, 1940-1964," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 24-51, January.
    6. David Neumark, 2003. "Age Discrimination Legislation in the United States," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 21(3), pages 297-317, July.
    7. Mohammad Amin & Asif Islam, 2015. "Does Mandating Nondiscrimination in Hiring Practices Influence Women's Employment? Evidence Using Firm-Level Data," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(4), pages 28-60, October.
    8. Christafore, David & Leguizamon, Sebastian, 2012. "Earnings differences between homosexuals and heterosexuals and the effects of anti-discriminatory laws: equal but still unmarried," MPRA Paper 45267, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Kaas, Leo & Lu, Jun, 2010. "Equal-treatment policy in a random search model with taste discrimination," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 699-709, August.
    10. David Christafore & J. Sebastian Leguizamon, 2013. "Revisiting Evidence of Labor Market Discrimination against Homosexuals and the Effects of Anti-Discriminatory Laws," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 43(2,3), pages 213-238, Winter.
    11. Collins, William J., 2004. "The housing market impact of state-level anti-discrimination laws, 1960-1970," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 534-564, May.
    12. Kahanec, Martin, 2005. "Two Faces of the ICT Revolution: Desegregation and Minority-Majority Earnings Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 1872, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    13. Tim Besley & Abigail Payne, 2003. "Judicial accountability and economic policy outcomes: evidence from employment discrimination charges," IFS Working Papers W03/11, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    14. William J. Collins, 2003. "The Housing Market Impact of State-Level Anti-Discrimination Laws, 1960-970," NBER Working Papers 9562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

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